RE: [-empyre-] 'new media' -> future

Henry said:

> I think that a unification of Science and Art is a waste of time. The two
> are fundamentally different and answer different questions. At the same
> time, I think that the dialogue between the two cultural forces will grow
> and grow exponentially over time, as they do share a number of needs.

it used to be that physics was the great exemplar of the application of
mathematics. physics is of course still strong, but with computers being as
ubiquitous and significant as they are now, the mathematics of computer
science is gaining greater prominence.

and how does this mathematics differ from the typical mathematics of
physics? well, calculus and differential equations tend to be the central
tools of physics. the mathematics of computer science isn't so oriented
toward calculus and d.e's as to a kind of mix of tools from analysis/the
foundations (logic and formal systems), graph theory, combinatorics. but of
course it depends on what aspect of computer science you're looking at. i
have to learn Director 3D over the next few months, so will be revisiting
linear algebra and vector spaces, matrix transformations, etc. antoine
schmitt, i note, wrote a program that performs Fourier transforms on sound.

i got a book out from the library the other day called 'Parsing Natural
Language' to revisit that stuff for my own interest in language.

i picked up quite a good book on game theory a while ago. that looks
interesting but it's very hard to read, all math. well written, though.

my work is primarily in the arts as an artist. but it is exciting to note
that i seem eventually to drag in all the math i ever learned in order to do
the art i make.

when i was young i studied english and math in school. wasn't interested in
computers at all, and didn't start using one till i was 30, after six years
of working in the arts, in radio, producing a literary show each week. my
education in math and english was, um, interesting but disjointed. this was
back in the early eighties. most of the really talented math students i knew
ended up not pursuing a career in math. the lifestyle, culture, and pursuits
associated with being a professional mathematician were just too
unappealing. some went off to do weapons research. some went into the arts.
etc. the english students i studied with, well, some of them are lawyers.
the odd poet. the odd scholar. but none i know of whose work straddles the
arts and sciences.

Frédéric Durieu, an artist-programmer, said "...the aim of all this is to
create poetry. So, I like to speak about algorithmic poetry. A poem is a
text that procures you poetry if you read it. The code I'm trying to write
is a text that procures you poetry if a computer reads it for you...." ( ). The particular
piece he talks about in that interview is called "Oeil Complex" which turns
out to involve imaginary functions, functions of a complex variable.

The point of all this, Henry, is that math and the sciences arise quite
naturally in the work of programmer-artists. I wish that, when I was young
and studying math and english, there had been more crossover between them.
Significant crossover. Not incidental or occassional, but a kind of
crossover that could result from the sort of field Nick and Noah are
contemplating, trying to foster. To do art and science at the same time is
very fulfilling, I find. It raises the purpose of the science, and there's
something about using both one's artistic and scientific/mathematical
abilities at once that is just very fulfilling.

Art and science are, ideally, toward the benefit and delight of humanity.
The cultures of science could really use more connection with the cultures
of art. I don't mean art as cheerleader in science. I mean significant
connection. So that real mathematical problems, say, arise out of the
attempt to build a work of art, say. I don't mean art simply as 'humanizer'
of science, either, though that could be an important role. Take the work of
Giordanno Bruno, say, and have it come from a culture in which science and
art are fruitfully combined.


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